Maui Police Reminds Public to Be Aware of Telephone Scam
The Maui Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division reminds the public to be aware of recent telephone scams.
Scams involve people receiving a telephone call on either their cellular or home phone from a number that is unfamiliar to them. The caller will say that a family member has been involved in an accident, has been or is about to be arrested, or that you owe money and need to pay it immediately. In some instances, the caller will not identify themselves or tell you where they are calling from. The caller may give the name of a relative and in some cases, they may not. They will pretend to be a law enforcement officer, a paramedic or the IRS. They will ask for money to be sent.
What should you do?
- Do not give out any personal information; hang up immediately
- Do not send money to anyone or agree to meet anyone to hand over money
- Pay attention to the caller ID number, if you do not recognize it, don’t answer
- Remember, a law enforcement officer will identify with name, rank and immediate callback information. If in doubt, hang up and simply contact the agency the person said they were calling from. A legitimate officer will have no problem with that.
Common scam themes:
- Free vacations and prizes
- Phishing scams (asking access to your computer for “repairs”, updates, etc.)
- Loan scams
- Phony debt collectors
- Fake charities
- Medical alert/scams targeting seniors
- Warrants or threats of arrest (law enforcement never demands money over the phone or agrees to negotiate a payout in lieu of arrest)
- IRS Calls – the IRS never calls anyone without first sending a formal letter nor does the IRS ever demand immediate payment over the phone
Remember the “hooks” that are a sure sign of a scam:
- They contact YOU asking for money, offering a prize or an easy loan
- They dangle bait in front of you
- First YOU have to pay THEM. It is illegal for someone to require upfront money for a loan or prize or reward of any kind.
- You are asked to wire or airborne money instead of mailing it to a verified official address.
MPD encourages the public to keep these measures in mind in an effort to help keep you and your family safe and to avoid being a victim of this type of crime.